Tierra y Libertad | Emiliano Zapata | Drop One

by Christian Barraza | Mexican History

Emiliano was born on August 8th, 1879 in the rural village of Anenecuilco, Mexico. He learned early on about responsibility when he lost his father Gabriel at age 16 or 17. The story goes that at age 18 Emiliano was arrested for taking part in a protest by the peasants of his village against the hacienda that appropriated their lands. Coming from a long line of farmers Emiliano understood the constant struggle of losing land to the ever-growing haciendas.

Mexican Revolution

In 1909, (when Emiliano was 30 years old) he was summoned back to his village of birth where he was elected as the village's council board president. In 1910, Emiliano made a quiet alliance with Francisco Madero who had just lost the election to the then president Porfirio Diaz. It is said that Zapata was not fond of Madero but agreed to help in exchange for land reform which was Emiliano's core mission.

Later in 1910, Emiliano agreed to join Madero's campaign by taking on the role as the general of the Liberation Army of the South. Zapata's army captured Cuautla after a six day battle in May of 1911, which was described as, "six of the most terrible days of battle in the whole revolution." Around the same time in the city of Juarez, Pancho Villa and Pascual Orozco defeated Diaz's army and led to the signing of, "The Treaty of Ciudad Juarez." A week later Diaz resigned and fled to Europe, leaving behind a provisional president.

Madero’s Trickery

After Diaz fled, Zapata came to Madero to discuss the agreed upon terms prior to the revolution. Instead of keeping his word, Madero offered Zapata money to buy land and asked that he disarm his people. Emiliano was a man of the people and showed this again when he declined Madero's offer. Zapata attempted to persuade his guerrillas to disarm but changed his mind when the provisional government sent military force to confront Zapata's guerillas.

In November of 1911 when Madero officially took presidency of Mexico and appointed a governor who supported plantation owner rights over peasant farmers, it angered Zapata. Emiliano then fled to the mountains and devised a new plan which he called, "The Plan of Ayala" which renewed the revolution. The Plan of Ayala essentially stated that Madero failed to fulfill the initial goals of the revolution.

Zapata’s Firm Integrity

In early 1913, Victoriano Huerta, conspired against Madero which led to the ten-day siege of La Ciudadela. On February 18th 1913, Madero was forced to resign and Huerta took over as the new president of Mexico. In early 1914, Zapata refused to join forces with Huerta even though there was an imminent foreign invasion around the corner.

Over the next few years Emiliano would struggle with fighting off enemies, both foreign and domestic. Zapata stood up for the peasant farmers when they couldn't stand up for themselves. He understood what it felt like to have your land stripped away from you and wanted to make sure it didn't happen to his people again. Emiliano Zapata died on April 10, 1919 after being tricked into a meeting. Although he died that day, his mentality raged on and has been fueling resistance ever since. Viva la revolucion!



The information above was written by Christian Barraza. Below you will find where this information came from and we always recommend you go out and do your own research. Come up with your own conclusion and never forget to keep learning!


Artwork by Phillip Wolves and Abel Delgado

"Emiliano Zapata" - Wikipedia

"Emiliano Zapata Biography" - Biography

"Emiliano Zapata: Revolution and Betrayal in Mexico" by Samuel Brunk